I was honoured when masalamommas.com was asked to organize a South Asian inspired baby shower a few months ago. As a community that constantly strives to bring moms with a South Asian connection together this event was the perfect way to celebrate culture, motherhood and new life with a brand that also celebrates motherhood, Huggies Canada.
For some of us, baby showers in the South Asian community are also known as the Godh Bharai.
Traditionally, for many South Asians, Godh bharai is a baby shower celebrated while a woman is pregnant to welcome the baby-to-be to the family and bless her with the joys of motherhood. In Hindi, godh bharai, means to ‘fill the lap’ with abundance. In Tamil Nadu it is known as valakappu, in Bengal it is known as shad. For South Indians, it is known as Seemantham, performed to protect and nurture the mom-to-be and the baby in her womb.
Some families choose to have the baby shower when the mom-to-be completes her seventh month of pregnancy because it’s generally when many people believe that the mother has reached the safe phase of her pregnancy. Some celebrate with a baby shower closer to the due date and still some choose not to have a baby shower until after the baby is born because they have a superstition that having a shower before the baby is born may be premature. Many baby showers in the South Asian community are also accompanied by a ceremony and a puja. Many Godh Bharais also involve the mother-to-be getting dressed up in a special saree and adorned with flowers.
For our South Asian baby shower, we wanted to help ‘adorn’ the moms with bindis and bangles if moms chose to do so having a bindi bar and bangle bar made for a great addition. Bangles are also traditionally given to moms-to-be as gifts as well.
And if you’re dressed up why not get photos done, right?
We thought we’d make the photos a little more ‘cultural’ with some great South Asian inspired backgrounds where moms could bring their babies if they had them with them or just capture their special moment with a special background.
Moms had about 7 backgrounds to choose from spanning from a traditional adorned Indian elephant (often elephants are associated with human life, prosperity and royalty), stunning backdrop of the Taj Mahal, a palace in Rajasthan and more! We even had traditional Indian suits for both baby boy and girls ready for moms to dress their little ones up.
When moms walked in they saw a festive backdrop that was complete with Huggies colours red and white and the traditional saffron amber colour accenting the entire room. Our place settings had all the welcoming elements of a South Asian look including gold lac boxes for every mom to take home and an elephant cookie.
The Bindis and Bangles theme flowed throughout all the settings as 3 bangles adorned each napkin to tie everything together.
No baby shower is complete without a feast and feast we did! We had plenty of great food at Swagat Banquet Hall, including chicken tikka masala (halal), veggie spring rolls, fish and veggie pakoras and instead of traditional sweets that are normally given during a shower; we had a candy bar which included all the colours of a festive occasion.
Our host, nationally recognized TV host and personality, Karen Johnson opened up the event with a game of course. No shower is complete without a game! We organized a fabulous diaper tying competition with Huggies new Little Snugglers for newborns.
Three moms, two minutes trying to get as many diaper changes done in that time as possible on newborn dolls. It was quite the competition filled with giggles and laughs as diapers went flying. After it was all said and done the winner had wrapped 5 diapers in 2 minutes and received the perfect prize for a new mom: a Diaper Genie.
The highlight of our event were the amazing speakers we brought to give moms a chance to learn and interact from some of the most sought after speakers in Canada. Parenting expert and sleep consultant Nanny Robina gave moms a sleep 101 on how to prevent forcing their babies to be a on a sleep training schedule.
She shared with moms the cues to look for to know when your baby is tired and great information on the amount of sleep a baby needs month by month. Many of our own parents raised us with little or no sleep-schedule so the grandmothers in the audience were right there nodding their heads when Nanny Robina spoke about babies and sleep.
Moms loved the interactive prenatal and baby yoga demo led by yoga specialist and actress Rishma Malik, who talked to moms about the significance of various poses in yoga and how they can implemented throughout the day. She also talked about how to get babies involved in your yoga routines and that babies as young as 6 months can take part in baby yoga classes.
Traditionally in South Asian communities, the baby’s first year is one of the most significant times of a child’s life and is also a cultural milestone. Back in India, dais, or what are known as ‘mothers’ helpers’ are at a new mom’s side from the start. So it made sense to have Lisa Caron a certified doula and author speak to moms about the importance of skin-to-skin contact in the first year and beyond. She talked about how bonding with your baby is critical to growth, development, better sleep and better nursing as well.
Throughout the event, a fabulous Huggies demo table showcased the newest line of diapers for babies 6 months and younger for moms to check out and some babies even got ‘friendly’ at the table as moms looked on.
To keep moms hydrated we also had a caffeine-free tea bar, by Lemon Lilly tea, a local brand that prides itself on more than 150 natural & organic loose-leaf teas. The company works with top tea estates and organic farms from around the world, creating some of the most exciting and delicious teas on the planet, all 100% natural and 100% organic.
We had teas including their Canadian maple and their herbal peppermint teas which were the most popular with the moms. In addition to some amazing swag bags, many moms left with some incredible prizes. Not without a bit of work though.
We gave away our amazing South Asian inspired Huggies diaper cakes made by Credit Valley Hospital to moms to the first moms who could answer some skill-testing motherhood questions like: What is the average time for dads to change a diaper?
The prizes didn’t end there! We held a prize draw after our cake came out and Huggies Canada provided two moms with a three-month supply of Huggies diapers. Drumroll….our grand prize draw?
It was a $2500 travel gift card from Flight Centre Canada courtesy of Huggies Canada. Suma Das was not only squealing when her name was called but also a little more than flabbergasted!
“I’m still shaking,” Das said. “I never win anything!”
Moms were asked to upload their pictures to the TimetoHug facebook page where for each ‘hug’ picture uploaded, Huggies Canada will donate $1 to the South Asian Women’s Centre of Canada. This campaign is still going on and we encourage all moms to share their pictures of them hugging someone they love to this page for a great cause.
See a great video of our event here:
Our moms and speakers had a fabulous time at our Bindis and Bangles shower and many said the event was a perfect way to celebrate motherhood but also a great way to meet other moms.
“I had a great time at the shower,” said one Bhanu Misra Marya. ” I really liked the guest speakers and the interactive baby and mommy yoga session really inspired me to get back into my practice! The day was well organized and a major plus was meeting the other masalamommas in a friendly environment! Building that network of new mom friends is important me! Looking forward to the next event!”
Are you having a baby shower soon? Here are some tips on how to help enjoy your special day:
- Get plenty of rest before the shower as it may get busy with family and friends and tire you.
- Pick an outfit that you’re comfortable: an anarkali suit is great and loose for comfort. Snug silk sarees or suits that have a lot of heavy embroidery may be uncomfortable when pregnant or abrasive to your newborn if you’re carrying him/her with you.
- While food during many festive occasions like showers is plentiful try to eat bite-size portions throughout the event to keep yourself nourished and feeling full especially if you’re nursing. And be sure to stay hydrated especially if you’re pregnant!
- If you want to provide something a little fun at your shower, get a photo booth going complete with accessories like a bindi and bangle bar and fun props.
- You may also want to give out small gifts to those who attend such as scarves or shawls to moms or tikkas or even some bangles.
- Your godh bharai is a time to celebrate those who will be there for you as a new mom including family, friends and other women. So create a fun way to celebrate them and take lots of pictures to share with them and stay connected. Your support network is only as good as how connected you are. They are there for you and your new baby!
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